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Twitter Noise Slowing Disaster Efforts
By: Jessica Cherok
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With more than 10,000 people feared dead, many of us are wondering how we can help. Twitter continues to prove its usefulness in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, but there is also a downside: noise.

Tweeting about a disaster, retweeting about a disaster, and so on is plentiful whenever a major event occurs. Everyone wants to contribute their voice to the cause. Spreading awareness, as well as providing information on how to help, donate, and volunteer, has been incredibly beneficial during times of disaster.

However, there is an unintended downside to all of the caring hashtags. For aid organizations, governments, and media outlets sifting through all of the tweets, the amount can hinder their ability to quickly locate important logistical data needed to get help to those who really need it.

So how do we maintain the benefits of social media during a disaster while also finding the critical information needed? Several companies, including Google, have been working on using posted information to create a social map of the affected area. This map is created by linking together specific keywords along with their geographic location.

In essence, the technology weeds through thousands of retweeted tweets from celebrities expressing their heartbreak to find what responders or victims need most. While still a fairly new technology, it will certainly only improve over time.

For more information about where you can help Typhoon Haiyan victims, check out this Mashable article.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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